The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities
The Hon Paul Caica
Minister for Sustainability, Environment & Conservation
Minister for Water and the River Murray
Major study into future management of Lake Albert
Joint media release
19 December 2012
The future management of water quality in Lake Albert and Narrung Narrows in South Australia will be the subject of a major investigation funded by the Australian and South Australian governments.
The 12 month study will suggest potential management strategies to sustain water quality and ecological health in Lake Albert.
Lake Albert and the Narrung Narrows form a critical part of the Coorong, Lower Lakes and Murray Mouth wetland of international significance.
Water Minister Tony Burke said the study will enable informed decisions to be made about managing the water quality in Lake Albert and the Narrows.
“The scoping study will build on the significant investment already made in the CLLMM region and will evaluate the feasibility of the most sensible long-term management solutions,” he said.
"When I visited Lake Albert earlier this year, local famers and representatives from the Ngarrindjeri explained their thoughts on the future management of Lake Albert.
“This study will consider the impact of varying lake levels and complementary works required in the Narrung Narrows and elsewhere to improve water exchange between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.
“I am pleased to say work is now complete on the removal of the Narrung bund that will allow water to move more freely between Lake Albert and Lake Alexandrina.”
The South Australian Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources will undertake the scoping study, consistent with its Long-Term Plan for the region.
South Australian Water Minister Paul Caica said although water quality in Lake Albert has improved significantly since 2010, further reduction to pre-drought salinity levels will take time.
“With the full removal of the Narrung Bund now finalised, the State Government can focus its attention on working with the local community - including the Ngarrindjeri and the CLLMM Community Advisory Panel - to determine the best long-term solutions for managing water quality in Lake Albert and the Narrung Narrows,” he said.
“It’s also important to improve water quality for the Ngarrindjeri, who believe the waters of the CLLMM region must be healthy for the people to be healthy.
“The goals of the Kungun Ngarrindjeri Yunnan Agreement between the Ngarrindjeri and the State Government include lands and waters that are healthy and spiritually alive, and that the people, children, and all their descendants can enjoy those healthy lands and waters.”
Mr Burke said the scoping study was part of a broader Government’s commitment of up to $200 million to help South Australia respond to the long-term ecological management of the Lower Lakes and Coorong.
The scoping study will also include evaluating the Meningie Narrung Lakes Irrigators Association five point plan.
The Gillard Government will provide 90 per cent of the funding and the South Australian Government the remaining ten per cent.
The Australian Government’s contribution is part of the Sustainable Rural Water Use and Infrastructure Progam, a key component of the Water for the Future initiative.